Student Club Taps Art, Style to Help Save Species

By Daniel Langhorne
A Sage Hill student club has adopted a novel concept to promote environmental sustainability while also displaying its members’ colorful artwork.

While many student clubs promote their cause by selling T-shirts, Change into Change takes a unique spin by selling shirts with buttons across the chest to snap on patches emblazoned with students’ artwork addressing themes like biodiversity and wildlife conservation.

It’s possible for someone not prone to stains to enjoy a different Change into Change look seven days a week.

A basic cotton T-shirt requires about 2,700 liters of water—what one person drinks in two-and-a-half years—from farm to factory, according to the World Resources Institute.

“I originally started this because I wanted to find a unique and creative way to solve climate innovations because I’ve been personally affected by the California fires since I live near the Orange County foothills,” Change into Change Founder and President Joy Sun ’25 said. “That was the driving factor for me to start an environmental club where I could highlight people’s creative sides and passion for the environment.”

The club’s first round of designs highlighted rare and valuable plant species including Rafflesia, Titan Arum, Black Cohosh, Goldenseal and more. Joy’s favorite piece so far is a purple Titan Arum, also called the corpse flower because of the foul stench the behemoth releases in South American rainforests.

Their newly released installment features students’ digital or hand-drawn artwork of endangered and threatened species including Sri Lankan Elephant, Galapagos Penguin, Red Panda, Snow Leopard and Saola.
An upcoming slate of students’ artwork will illustrate aspects of mental health, Joy said.

“We planned for this club to be a Sage Hill-only organization but eventually we’d like to build up to integrating other schools in Orange County,” Luke Wu ’25 said. “Another one of our goals is to put this product in the OC Fair and generally expand the brand.”

Joy found it easy to recruit her peers to join with the promise they would see their original art displayed on clothing.

“Students were excited to share their work because when you create artwork it’s usually for a portfolio or your personal Instagram,” she said.

Luke is optimistic about the impact young people can demonstrate by collectively acting on global issues like climate change and deforestation.

“Although we’re just high school students the impact that we strive to create is more important than the fact I’m just one person,” he said. “The motive and the drive that we have created something that resonates with a lot of people.”

Funds raised from the sale of Change into Change T-shirts will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund, Joy said.

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Sage Hill School

Sage Hill School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, and athletic and other School administered programs.